Book Review: Poor Economics

April 26, 2011

Philanthropy Action

Laura Starita, of Philanthropy Action, reviewed Poor Economics, by CFSP member Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.  In her review, Starita explained that Banerjee and Duflo make a strong attempt at dispelling the idea that big problems, like global poverty, simply need "Big Ideas."  The approach of Banerjee and Duflo, she argues, takes great care to examine the multifaceted and interwoven perpetuation of poverty, even challenging the idea that poverty traps are an all-encompassing explanation.  Starita describes their holistic approach saying, "They are peeling the onion, not hacking it to pieces. Such meticulousness brings them to the eventual conclusion that framing the challenges of development through Big Ideas [...] generate Big Solutions that are cumbersome, expensive, top-down, and ultimately fail to consider the one critical success factor for any development initiative: the people."